Lars Larsson

Sweden’s Larsson enjoying Canadian soccer

The match was over before it even began, but the teens played it anyway last Thursday night.

The match was over before it even began, but the teens played it anyway last Thursday night.

Due to a deficiency of players on Ridley Terminals, the side had to forfeit the match against NSK Contracting in their first game of the playoffs for the Prince Rupert Youth Soccer (PRYS) under-19 league.

“The teams must have seven players to play because if it’s not enough players they lose by default,” said the match’s referee Lucio Daniele.

Ridley had assembled six players at game-time, and their seventh came 10 minutes into the play-match. Four players from NSK suited up for Ridley, taking a few positions including starting goalkeeper.

Despite their team’s automatic loss, the side came back. With the help of their former foes; now brethren, they defeated the strong team in green, 4-1, which had lost very few matches during the regular season.

NSK had 14 players show up out of 17, compared to Ridley’s six.

As a result of the loss, Ridley dropped to 0-1. They’ll have two more chances to add to their win column in the round robin, but it’s a disappointing way to start the post-season. And according to the team, it had been a repeating occurrence all season.

Among the troops that did suit up for the team in crimson, Lars Larsson (18), an exchange student from Sweden since last August, led the loyal few into the fray. He scored two goals, and wouldn’t miss a soccer match if it was raining sideways.

“I’ve played with all kinds of teams [since moving here]. I’ve played with the rep teams, I’ve played with this team and I’ve played school soccer (for Charles Hays) and for the men’s team (PRFC),” he said.

“We play a lot more soccer in Sweden than you do here. We play all year-round, it never stops.”

Larsson, a Grade 11 student but a graduate in Sweden, is returning late in June, and he chose Canada after some deliberation.

“Well, I looked from different countries, like I was thinking USA, Canada or Australia. Those three were the main ones. Canada looked fun, I was thinking of all the fun outdoor stuff you could do here like hiking and skiing and that sort of thing,” he said.

Larsson mentioned he’d been to Shames Mountain and Smithers to ski and snowboard “10 or 20 times” since he’s been here and he’s been living with Allison and Sam Brunelle in town.

“I have a lot of memories, this is hard,” Larsson said, trying to recall his best one.

“Maybe something sports-related. Going to Gitsegukla with the (tournament-winning) men’s soccer team there, that was so much fun.”

As for the World Cup, Larsson’s beloved Swedish national team won’t be in the championship.

“Unfortunately, we lost against Portugal in the playoffs [getting there],” he said.

So it’s France or bust.

“My favourite player is actually a French goalkeeper that played; he quit after the World Cup in 2006. Fabien Barthez. There was a lot of talk about him in the first World Cup I ever saw, and that’s what made me like him and the team,” said Larsson.